Saturday, 26 January 2008

A Little Culture

It was snowing for three days in a row at the beginning of the week, so that meant my chance had finally arrived to go up Seolbong Mountain to see if I can get a decent photograph of the temple in the snow.

I was considering whether I should do a post on that first or on my visit to Seoul. See, it was snowing in Seoul as well and I wanted to take a photograph of the Sacred Garden at Changdeok Palace. I think I’ll do a post on the Seoulbong Slip and Slide for Monday.

To get to the point of this post, I wanted to show a bit more of the cultural heritage of Korea. At Gyeongbok Palace they now have the Palace Museum. I am honestly not sure if it was there before, but I don’t remember it from a few months back.

I first heard about it when I noticed some of the items Changdeok Palace were missing. I was told it was moved to a new museum. Gyeongbok Palace was closed so the site for my second “planned” photo of the day was off limits, so I thought I might as well go have a look at the museum.

There is quite a bit to see there, all of it relating to the royals in some way or another. The two things that struck me most ware the items I include in the post.

The one photo is a portrait of King Taejo, painted in the late 1800s. Contrast the style to portraits from Europe at the same time.

The second photo is of two embroidered patches. I took separate photographs of and combined them in to one. Of interesting here are the images on the patches, not just the beauty.

I often hear Korea being revered to as The Tiger. I wasn’t able to find more information on why the tiger, but I suppose it is the same as the lion in Europe and Africa. It symbolizes power.

The crane is a symbol of longevity in Far Eastern cultures and you see it everywhere on Korean ceramics. Since Icheon is one of the centers of ceramics in Korea, I see it more that most, I suppose.

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